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Polish report Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2012-10-24 03:45:29
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Poland's oldest former Auschwitz prisoner dies at 108

Antoni Dobrowolski, who was the oldest Polish survivor of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, died at the age of 108 on Sunday, Auschwitz Museum officials said. Dobrowolski's son informed the museum about his father's death, its press office told Reuters on Monday. Dobrowolski, a former teacher, was arrested in the southern Polish city of Radom on June 6 1942, and brought to the Auschwitz death camp immediately afterwards. He was moved on to Gross-Rosen camp and finally to Sachsenhausen, where he was freed when the war ended.

Dobrowolski, who was not Jewish, was detained because he belonged to a forbidden teachers' organization that flouted a Nazi ban by teaching primary school students about Polish history. When the war ended, Dobrowolski moved to the small city of Debno, where he was for many years headmaster of a local high school. During Nazi Germany's World War Two occupation of Poland, the Nazis killed some 1.5 million people in Auschwitz, located near the Polish village Oswiecim. Most those killed were Jewish.


Poland to start funding IVF fertility treatment

Poland's Prime Minster Donald Tusk announced plans on Monday to finance in-vitro fertilization treatment for couples, setting himself on a collision course with conservatives who say the procedure violates Catholic doctrine. A growing number of increasingly secular Poles back IVF, which has been performed in Poland for 25 years, but traditionally Catholic Poland has never passed legislation regulating the treatment. Tusk said he would ask the Health Ministry to provide financing for 15,000 couples, both married and unmarried, for up to three in-vitro procedures for three years after other fertility treatments fail. His Civic Platform party has wrestled over several bills dealing with IVF, with conservatives seeking to criminalize the procedure and the secular wing wanting to offer state funding. "There's an impasse in the parliament because of the wide scale of opinions and I fear this will last for a long time," Tusk told a news conference.

"This is why I thought it was important to avoid influencing what will be expected from the bill but to secure the safety of the patients and the foetuses," he said. The treatment is backed by a growing majority of Poles. In a survey in September, four out of five Poles supported the treatment for married couples and three out five for unmarried partners. However, so far, the expenses related to the procedure have prevented many couples from turning to it. Tusk has already had to contend with a growing split within his party that was highlighted this month when a group of backbenchers voted to push forward a bill that would tighten Poland's already restrictive abortion law.

The IVF plan is also part of a campaign to boost Tusk's party's shrinking support following a string of political missteps and an economic slowdown. Several polls have shown it trailing the conservative opposition Law and Justice Party. The Catholic Church and Law and Justice, criticize Tusk's plan as an undemocratic move to circumvent the parliament and a violation of religious doctrine. "As a Catholic, I oppose the use of genetic engineering in this process," said one of Law and Justice's leading politicians, Joachim Brudzinski.


Polish officials scramble to explain roof fiasco

Officials in Poland scrambled Wednesday to explain why they failed to close the stadium roof and prevent the country's World Cup qualifier with England being postponed by a waterlogged pitch. The match was rescheduled for Wednesday. Heavy rain on Tuesday left pools of water on the field at the 1.8 billion zloty ($600 million) National Stadium, built for this year's European Championship. The stadium, with a capacity of 58,000, has a retractable roof, but it was left open Tuesday despite intensifying rainfall.

On Wednesday, the Polish Football Association and the National Sports Centre, which runs the stadium, were trying to avoid taking the blame. According to the stadium managers, the Polish FA said that neither team, nor the FIFA representative or referee, wanted the roof closed, despite the bad weather. FIFA requires matches to be held under natural conditions, the same as during training. They said the roof cannot be closed while it rains, which was the case for most of the day Tuesday. They also denied that the recently-fitted grass was of poor quality and unable to absorb the rain. They maintained the drainage was sufficient and worked properly after the roof was closed when the rain stopped.

"(The) FIFA match commissioner decided at 8 p.m. to close the roof,'' but the stadium managers said it was not possible due to the heavy rain, the association said. The FA apologized to the fans for the inconvenience. The FA plans to seek damages from the stadium's owner, the Sports Ministry, which it blames for failing to properly prepare the pitch. The roof remained open under sunny weather for part of Wednesday but was then closed three hours before kickoff.

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